Posted March 23, 2023; updated April 21st

Between January 2021 and March 2023, many tenants in Massachusetts facing an eviction could receive a continuance from the court if they showed that they had a pending application for benefits under the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program or another short-term emergency rental assistance program. In addition, the court could not issue a judgment or an eviction execution before the application was approved or denied.

Unfortunately, this important eviction prevention tool provided under a law known as Chapter 257 expired on March 31st. The Housing Court did not include an extension of Chapter 257 in the new standing order issued by the court on April 3rd (read the standing order here), and the Legislature has not yet immediately restored the protections. We are very pleased to report, however, that the House Committee on Ways and Means included an outside section in their version of the state’s FY24 budget that would reinstate Chapter 257 and make the protections permanent. For that to come into fruition, we need the Senate and Governor to also approve the language, so let’s continue our joint advocacy! Please see the April 19th press release on the House’s Chapter 257 budget language, from the Coalition and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI.)

Sign our one-minute online action to restore eviction protections:

Join us in signing this online action today to legislators from the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute:


Organizational sign-on letter:

We also sent a similar organizational sign-on letter to the Legislature and the Courts on March 17th. There were 118 groups on the letter when we delivered it, with more groups signing on since then (such as South Middlesex Opportunity Council, City of Boston Office of Housing Stability, City Life/Vida Urbana, and Children’s HealthWatch.) You can see the organizational sign-on letter as delivered and the Coalition/MLRI ‘s March 20th press release.

Support letters from elected officials:

We are grateful to elected officials weighing in with their support of extending Chapter 257 protections, including Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell (PDF) and Boston City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune! (PDF)

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